Through Dan Ambrose: Teofimo Lopez has an ongoing fight against highly ranked 140-pound contender Arnold Barboza Jr. for April or May in what will be his first fight in the light-welterweight division.
Top Rank need to think carefully before fighting for Teofimo because 30-year-old Barboza can do the same things George Kambosos Jr.
Former four-belt lightweight champion Teofimo (16-1, 12 KOs) is gaining weight after losing his mandatory IBF George Kambosos Jr. last November.
‘Takeover’ Teofimo, 24, opted out of the fight at 135 after that loss. The New Yorker Lopez was too big to continue campaigning, so he decided to drop the idea of facing Kambosos Jr. in a rematch.
Barboza (26-0, 10 KOs) is also fighting for Top Rank like Teofimo, which makes for an easy match. It’s a tough fight for Teofimo to play his first game at 140 years old.
Although Barboza Jr. isn’t a big puncher, he has the technical skills and conditioning to take advantage of Teofimo’s shortcomings of low stamina and IQ.
Kambosos revealed in his win over Teofimo that Teo doesn’t react well when his opponents attack him and show confidence.
Teofimo is much better when his opponents are shy, passive, defensive and let him lead. We saw how well Teofimo fought against Vasily Lomachenko when the Ukrainian fighter fought defensively in the first half of their fight in 2020. Yet when Loma fought aggressively in the second half, Teofimo has began to crumble mentally and physically.
“Barboza is the logical opponent. He’s highly regarded, he’s undefeated, he’s also with Top Rank, and he’s a 140-pounder, that’s where we’re going,” Teofimo manager David McWater told Fight the monsters unite.
“Top Rank asked us about the Barboza fight, and we’re fine with that. It’s a fight that makes sense to everyone. We discussed that name with Top Rank,” McWater said.
The problem with this fight is that if Teofimo loses or looks terrible, Top Rank will conclude that he is not made for this match. In other words, Teofimo is a one-hit wonder who took advantage of an injured 2020 Lomachenkoin to win all three of his titles.
Before he is allowed to face Barboza, he will need to be medically cleared to fight. During Teofimo’s loss to Kambosos, he battled with pneumomediastinum.
This problem has been fixed. However, Teofimo has a wrist and elbow issue that he is dealing with. If those wounds don’t heal, Teofimo will fight Barboza Jr. or anyone he faces.
“The biggest problem of all lung problems is that he had problems with his wrist and elbow, which were injured coming into camp,” McWater said of Teofimo’s injury issues. “That’s what concerns us. We will try to have everything in place for the fight by mid-February.
It might be better for Teofimo to take on a lower level fighter in his first match at light welterweight rather than take a chance against Barboza and get beaten again.